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2013 January - New York Grip Throw Down 1 - anwnate


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ANWNate's Throwdown Report

(disclaimer: this report is someone egocentric, however…it is MY report heh)

It's an hour North of my home so I left fairly early. I awoke with just a shadow of back pain from my recent tweaking. I decide to be very careful about my movements today…including loading and unloading my weights and platform. Due to some slight mixup with the gym's owner, we ended up waiting in the front of the place for 30-45 min due to the presence of some chick class going on. Not exactly an ideal thing in the Winter, but it wasn't brutally cold out and we got to catch up a bit. I think we were a bit noisy for all the ladies though. There were a number of cancellations. Numbers that once (in the beginning) swelled to 12 (semi-solids) and 16 (possibles) had fallen all the way down to 5. It would have been 6 but Wojo eventually decided (most likely wisely) that discretion was the better part of valor and sat this one out(injured arm). We can't thank him enough for showing up as a ref, judge and mentor. Not to kiss your butt John, but it shows a true respect for your word and for the Sport to show up and help facilitate the day.

The Venue

It was held at Botticelli's extreme fitness in Thornton NY. The owner was friendly and accommodating…yet another of Chez's friends. Because the gym shares it's little strip mall with other places of business, there's a bit of contentiousness that goes on with the parking, so it was important not to ruffle feathers and find a safe park (not difficult). http://www.botticellifitness.com/ The place isn't overly big, but houses a crazy assortment of training equipment. They had some limited business going on during our event, but all in all…it worked out pretty well (from our prospective at least). In retrospect, we could have done a few things differently (like stand the loading platform/extra weights out of the way to give them more room etc), but it was both Chez and the gym owner's first go at something like this. I'd call the venue pretty ideal.

The Players

Chez of course…is a legend, so no need to go further. ;) John (Wojo) showed to ref and facilitate. Myself. Brian (matrixsleeper…armwrestler extraordinaire, bending/grip guy) showed. We had met at Chez's before. Anthony. I also met at Chez's for a training session. Dude pulls 300+ on the Axle at 170. Joe (Anthony's friend) I was meeting for the first time…turned out to be a tough bugger too. These guys are very new to grip, but you can already tell with minimal work could really explode. Joe and Anthony's ladies attended to support their men (and film etc).


We finally entered the building and brought in a parade of block weights, pins and grip paraphernalia. We got a few odd looks from the departing sweaty ladies but we were pretty focused on getting started. I had brought my screwgun (with extra batteries) and set up the medley platform, while Chez set up his gripper table. He had prelabled the table (smart) with blue tape, so it was pretty easy to place the grippers and keep in order throughout the event. The medley table went back together without a hitch and I went into the back to get changed. I had to sport my new Diesel Crew shirt. It came with Guaranteed PR's for a full year. I was pretty psyched to try it out. I weighed in at 243ish.

Grippers 20mm both hands

Chez has got like a gazzillion grippers. I don't mean Mighty Joe league, but just for the average gripper bear. It's almost like going to an honest to goodness Candy house when you are like 5-8 years old. You want to try everything! I admit I glazed a little when Chez was explaining grippers, my mind was on my back which had stiffened since the morning. I drank a little wine from my waterbottle…hoping to loosen up a little. Chez failed epically in bring my one request…"Papawine". What could he possibly have on his mind…except running an entire grip event? Hmmmm. Slacker! Turns out we were following through with both hands (dominant/off) due to the limited turnout. I did a few practice squeezes with both.

First go..I failed righty on a #149 due to skin squeeze. Got it the following one. I decided to do some squats with light dumbbells (35's) in between my closes. I think it helped with the back pain…which in turn helped with the closes. Anthony and Joe are very new to grippers, so (I think) they ran into trouble when they hit Chez's only real gap in his gripper collection 118-126. If anyone has a solid rated 120-123 they want to get rid of, Chez might be interested. I believe Chez PR'd on Lefty…some sick number I haven't gotten with my dominant. My memory is a little vague but I think I ended up like 152/153 Righty and like 137ish(GHP6?) Lefty. Both are competition PR's for me. While I have closed a #3 with my off hand twice…they were outliers…most of the time I'm like 1/4" from a close. Whatever…my left hand is retarded. heh…I'll keep working it though.

What I've noticed about my gripping is that my set width isn't as important to me as the overall rating of a gripper. So say that I can close a 152 at MMS…I can also close it at a 1.5"-2" set…however that doesn't translate into me closing a 155 at MMS. In general, I am more of a slow closer than a fast one. Perhaps some speed work is in order. I haven't figured my body/gripper relationship yet. I'm all over the place day in, day out.

A side note…the guys again suggested I do my MM0. Wojo did the video. It came out alright. I sent it in.


I don't have much to say about this event. Chez's setup seasoned well. I'm starting to get a better feel for the event…though my numbers are still on the low end. Basically I've never really turned my attention to it. I will down the road though. I'll have to check the event stats...but I'm pretty sure I PR'd. It's kind of hard not to at this point in my 2HP career. I definitely want to incorporate 2HP training but right now I've got a lot on my goal plate. In time.


The bet. The back. The bet. The back. These are the two things that are going on in my head in regards to the Axle. I made a bet with Chez (for after comp tabs) that he wouldn't beat me by 20lbs in the Axle in February's comp. Now when we made the bet, I was at 273 and he was at 336 with only 6 weeks to go. That same day I pulled 285 and he 340 at his house…meaning I needed to close the gap by 46 pounds…in addition to any improvement he comes up with in those 6 weeks. A bit of hubris yes…but also bit of fun for me. Now, I've got a chronic back problem, but deadlifting hadn't bothered it, so when I left Chez's I went out and created a homemade axle. Unfortunately, my second workout with it tweaked it hard enough to scare the crap out of me. So, I'm approaching this bet very carefully from a back perspective.

Back to the throwdown. I asked Wojo for advice on form and with all his thickbar and deadlift experience he was able to immediately pick up on things I only suspected were going on. That, and Chez lending me (Thanks man) his belt were two keys to me avoiding further aggravation to my back. I did some warm ups and when I hit 253, I decided I was going to come in at 273. I managed that pretty comfortably. I hit 283 next. I hit 293 also. 303 left the ground…but way crooked for some reason. Even if I had locked it, it wasn't going to be legal. But hey…293's another PR…and I'm making good progress…chipping away at Chez's lead. Hopefully the bet will be a squeaker. If I win that's great, but even if I lose, I'll have made insane progress in a short time…besides, bets are no fun if there is no suspense. I left the Axle with some new confidence and some training ideas to (quietly) incorporate these next few weeks. BTW…have to mention Andrew pulling 300+ at 170lb BW. Monster strong.

The Medley

I was really looking forward to my first medley. Chez really designed it well. There were a lot of items at different skill levels (Blob50, IDL50, slick 35x2pinch, 5x10pinch being the only questionable ones at my/Chez level). Although Chez says I'm made for the medley, I somewhat disagree. I'm fairly strong and have big hands, but 4 minutes is really too long for my heart. (If you are unaware, I have a heart condition) If I climb like 6 flights of stairs, I can barely close a #1 Gripper. Stairs aren't taxing on the grip, but I get very weak when things turn too cardio. Squats over 10 reps don't go over so well with me. I'd probably be more comfortable with either a 2 minute medley, or something with a crapload of time…like 10 minutes. 4 minutes is more like a sustained sprint.

In the medley, strategically…going as close to last as possible is the way to go. You get to better map out your plan and see which things people have the most trouble with. Additionally, it allows a bit more rest between events. Chez and I talked about competitor order in contests like this. Apparently, in general, you would go in reverse order to the lead. Anyway…Chez asked me to go first…which I really didn't want to do. lol I hemmed and hawed a bit, but understood he wanted someone familiar with the equipment to show the newer gripsters what to expect and in general how to approach the event. While I've never done one, I was familiar with the setup and could do exactly what he requested.

So I went first. Unfortunately it was the only medley that didn’t get filmed so I can't go back and study it. I got 37 out of 42 points possible. In the interest in conserving time, I didn't give my blob50 much effort. I tried once…it didn't go right up so I moved on. With more time, there's no way it wouldn't (I had put it up the night before…since I own the blob and made the table, I tested it). The 5 dimes were slick (not exact matches) and again, after one try I went to 4 dimes. I straight up failed on the kettlebell press. I honestly didn't pay enough attention to Chez when he went over that station. I tried to clean it up rather than stabilize and press it slowly. I've no experience with kettlebells, but after my event, I gave it a shot and succeeded. But I burned through valuable time…and energy giving it like 4 tries before giving up on it. The 2x35's were very slick…I don’t think anyone got them. By time I reached the sledge coin lift, I was a bit weakened and just failed at the top. (One of those I would have gotten had I placed it in the beginning of my medley) I managed the IDL 50 no prob…don't think anyone else even bothered with it. Overall, I was happy with my effort, but think I would likely would have gotten the sledge and kettlebell had I gone later(and or paid more attention). The 5dimes/blob50 and 2 35's…who knows if I could have gotten even one if I used my last resource of time on it.

So…right before Chez went…I was kind of peeved. Why? After watching the rest of the competitors (who learned what not to do with the kettlebell after I did it)…it became apparent to me that Chez was going to win 39 to 37.

I actually verbalized it. This is part of life where you ask yourself…why am I, a 40 yo annoyed that I'm going to lose another event? That's it in a nutshell. I actually thought I had a shot at winning an event. I had to ask myself…why is that important?

It's funny how we all have that competitor in us, and how we rationalize and justify things to make us feel better about ourselves. I had to ask myself…how many times have I competed…do I even deserve to win? Have I worked hard enough? What is really more important? A win or a PR? Unless a win is accompanied by a fat check…you damn well better say a PR.

The fact is… Chez has worked really hard to become a well-rounded monster. He's put the time in. He's showed up at multiple events and learned how to succeed. He's done his homework, and done the work at home. You can look at his log and see how varied his training is, and how he trains everything…like the weaver stick, the coin lift, the hub lift, etc. etc. He earned the win. Me wanting to win the event is just that…wanting a win. You don't win an event, or a contest by "wanting"…you put the work in.


I got to say, overall, it was a great contest. We all gained valuable experience. Chez and John ran a smooth event, where everyone PR'd. As promised, Chez gave up his first place awards to those below him. I made out like a bandit with two lovely grippers, but more importantly…a little bit more awareness about myself and an even stronger desire to train hard and compete more fiercely. Thanks to everyone who showed, and those awesome sponsors who so generously donated to the event.

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